Student Participation, Student Voice, Student Agency: A reflection on developments over the last 10, 25 and 35 years

Youth Research Centre Seminar Series 2015

Roger Holdsworth, Research Associate, Youth Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

Ideas about 'student participation', 'student voice' and 'student agency' have developed steadily through national and international dialogue, research and practice. These ideas have also been reflected in some changes in practice in primary and secondary schools – but also in a continuity of commitment to some basic principles. This seminar provides an opportunity to reflect on changes to our understanding of these terms – and what they mean in and for practice. This year marks 35 years of documentation and publication of participatory practice through the journal Connect, 25 years of research in the area of student participation by the Youth Research Centre, and the 10th anniversary of a student-led statewide organisation in Victoria (the VicSRC). The seminar will draw on 'snapshots' of documented practice at these points, and involve participants collaboratively in reflecting on lessons that will take us forward – for the next 10, 25 or 35 years.


Roger Holdsworth

Roger Holdsworth is a Research Associate of the Youth Research Centre, having worked there in various research and management roles from 1990 to 2004.

By background he is a secondary school teacher, youth sector worker, researcher, consultant and writer. Since late 1979, he has edited and published the bi-monthly practice journal Connect, which documents and supports student participation in primary and secondary schools in Australia. He currently is an adviser to and supporter of the VicSRC, the peak body of secondary students in Victoria, as well as to the Western Young People's Independent Network (WYPIN). In addition, Roger presents a weekly 2-hour program of music from around the world (Global Village) on PBS 106.7 FM.